Celebrating Independence From King George And King Rob

First of all, Happy 4th to all you Americans, immigrants and people who just like to blow shit up, but especially to you staunch nationalists out there, who for today we overlook and implicitly embrace your xenophobia.

And a happy early Independence Day, which we celebrate tomorrow; the first day of free of agent for those bound by the shackles of gainful, contractual NHL employment. For the Kings, tomorrow likely means independence from Rob Scuderi and Dustin Penner. Penner we all mostly expect to sign elsewhere and we are pretty much OK with that. We like the big, smiling jokester and for two months out of the season, we even love him. Fret not, we’ll always have his twitter.

Rob Scuderi, the one that will get away. Along with the cavalcade of apathy when Penner signs elsewhere, a river of moans will flow when Scuderi inks a deal with the Islanders or Leafs or whoever else.

But should they?

Do we really want to keep Rob Scuderi?

In a cap free world, absolutely. In reality, I find myself leaning ever more towards a certain opinion of Scuderi: fuck ‘em.

I don’t begrudge him in any way his desire to seek the most financial security and term, or what is perhaps simply a strong desire to live again closer to his native coast. Truly, I don’t think him greedy or a turncoat, his priorities do not bother me. Would I like him to take the discount necessary to stay? Sure. But therein lies the problem, I don’t think the $2.5-3 million we have to comfortably offer him is a discount, I think it’s what he is worth.

With the playoffs firmly exfoliated, I’ve had more time to think back on the season. Suddenly I remembered a fairly common recurrence during games – leaning over and asking Scribe “What the fuck is wrong with Scuderi?”

Yeah, come to think of it, he sucked for a lot of the season.

Well, maybe sucked is a strong word. But the normally unnoticeable Piece made himself noticed and with Rob Scuderi’s game, being noticed is a bad thing. What little foot speed he had is fast fading. His decision making lacked expediency. The breakout passes, too often tapeless. Veteran wiles, failing him.

Scuderi is still a damn good defensemen. He will benefit any team that signs him and he would benefit ours to stay. However, his skill set is deteriorating and the Kings can play strong defense without him. There are other options out there more commensurate with our spending capabilities, Andrew Ference being the one I would target. But we can also fill this role from within. Perhaps the time of Andrew Campbell nears. Alec Martinez had an off year, but we all know him to be capable. Jake Muzzin has all the opportunity to burst onto the scene after his first offseason spent training with the knowledge and experience of what NHL hockey truly demands. Of course, those two need to be signed, but I venture to assume they will. (UPDATE – while I was writing this, Ellerby signed a one year deal, so there is also that) Are these options as good as Scuderi? No. But will they suffice? I think so. More importantly, I think they will have to.

A lack of defense is not what bounced the Kings from the Western Conference Finals and even without Mitchell and Greene for the majority of the year, and with Scuderi not playing anywhere near his best, the Kings defense maintained it’s echelon high amongst the NHL ranks. The Kings, as ever save for one playoff run under Lombardi, lack for goals. That Scuderi money is better spent on a winger.

Let’s forget the fact that Mitchell may still return, and if he does, this concern over keeping Scuderi is rendered entirely moot. I’m not counting on that, but regardless of the defense iced, Tyler Toffoli may not be enough on his own to boost the Kings offense in the upcoming season. While even average production from Kopitar and Brown gives us the benefit of a middling offensive team, an Iginla, Ryder or Jagr may better serve this team than Scuderi. There is the long shot of Nathan Horton, or an interesting option in Damien Brunner. Point being, if I have only $2-3 million to spend, I think I’m spending it on offense.

Regardless of whether I am right or insane, it’s the midnight hour and come sunrise, all signs point to Scuderi having sucked down his last bacon wrapped hot dog outside of Staples Center. The Piece served us well and once he does sign elsewhere, we will write him the proper send off he deserves.

But for now, the mountains required to sign him that need moving can stay put. If he was willing to take close to $3 million to stay, he’d have signed weeks ago. Since he isn’t, fuck ‘em.

Now bust out those explosives, and I don’t just mean the diarrhea from eating sloppy BBQ in the pool, throw back a beer and party in the sun until your skin turns red, the chicken patties turn white and you stop feeling blue.

Go America.

Go Kings.



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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31 replies

  1. When I read “King Rob” I thought of Game of Thrones. This is not as devistating as the red wedding so… Nice article. I feel better about letting the Scudense go after reading this. Thank you Surly. I hope you have a lovely day off.

  2. Hooray for working retail from 5pm-10pm on the fourth of July! In retaliation I’m wearing a Slava Voynov shirt. 1. He’s Russian and 2. He plays a sport most associated with Canada. Hoory for freedom of speech!

  3. Happy “Fuck the British Day!”

  4. Happy 4th to everyone !
    If I remember correctly, Lombardi said he “overpaid” him to come to LA. It’s not worth overpaying now.. Or for any F.A. Playing on the west coast really hurts the Kings when competing with East Coast teams for top FA’s

  5. la times wrote that stoll had seizure at home. perhaps yall know already?

    • Yeah I heard. Meant to write a short blurb on it yesterday but forgot to.

      Unless he has another one soon or they find a definite, worrisome cause, I’m not overly concerned about it. Seizures are fucking terrifying but they can also be random and isolated events.

      • Scary for Stoll and this is the 2nd one he’s had following a concussion, first being in 2007. So this is a worry for him.

        • I didn’t realize he already had one. 2007 was a long time ago tho. Not a great situation, but again, unless the doctors discover real brain damage or epilepsy or something, I’m not going to get too freaked out. I have family who have struggled with very series concussions and brain damage leading to seizures and the doctors were able to get it under completely managed control. Like I said, they are VERY scary, but it is something doctors understand and know how to treat fairly well, when there is something to treat and it wasn’t just an isolated incident, which if his only other one was in 2007, this still qualifies as in my book.

          • Yes, doctors do have ways to manage these issues if you referring to normal folk. I would say they do not have total control over these situation when you decide to continue doing what has caused the trauma. Stoll need to be very careful here. It kills me to see athletes sacrifice their long term health for short term goals. no matter how important it is to them at the time. The consequences could be great and I don’t want to see that.

  6. We need scuderi. He should be signed to whateveer contract he wants. There’s no one that can replace him. He is a defensive specialist in every meaning of the word.

    • Hey Mr. Scuderi’s agent, if you want your client to stay in LA so bad, shouldn’t you be talking to Dean? There’s nothing we can do for him here. It’s all up to Dean. But for the record your client declined last season, really struggled at times against St Louis, SJ, and Chicago, and really just looked softer and worn down, which often signals the start of a defenseman’s decline. This happened to Scuderi’s former teammate Brooks Orpik a couple years ago and it’s been all downhill since. Still skates good and looks like he should be good, but he’s just worn down, softer, doesn’t win the battles anymore, a step slower.
      Happened with Paul Martin too.

      You don’t want to overpay a dmen at the beginning of their downward cycle and get stuck with that cap hit for the whole contract while you get less and less for your money every year.

      I’d rather have Damien Brunner/Alec Martinez or Damien Brunner/Ference or Damien Brunner/Forbort or Damien Brunner/cheap UFA dman than just Scuderi. We need offense.

    • No one can replace him exactly, but I don’t think anyone necessarily HAS to. Plenty of teams have won Cups without Scuderi, and if he wants the kind of money that will force us to lose a top 6 winger, he can go screw. “Whatever the cost” is not a phrase you get to toss around with the Kings for a long time. The cost is everything.

  7. Surly, just a fantastic, masterful blog, dead on with every point, just common sense intelligence. Thank you for posting this.

    I’ve been trying to tell everyone the same thing for weeks:

    - A top wing is more important to this team than a declining Rob Scuderi.

    – A top wing is more important to this team than a declining Rob Scuderi and Robyn Regehr or Jarret Stoll, one of which might be necessary to move in addition to letting Scuderi go in order to sign a top wing.

    – A top wing is more important to this team than keeping 23 one-way contracts on the roster at all times, when you can only play 20 in a game, and can even play games with 18 or 19 if you need to, like I believe the Devils did a few years ago due to some aspect of the Kovalchuk deal.

    It’s just that simple to me. We don’t need Scuderi. We don’t need Regehr or Stoll if there are better options either. We don’t need a 23 man roster. These are all luxuries. Keeping a 4 million dollar bottom-pairing defenseman on your roster who provides no offense and is on the decline just because you know him and he’s a good guy and everything is a luxury. Having an old, washed up, declining Robyn Regehr on your roster for 3 million a year just because the coach likes his leadership is a luxury. Having a 3.25 million dollar 3rd line center for faceoffs who doesn’t provide a lot of offense when you already have three centers better than him making over 17 million dollars total against the cap, when you have an NHL ready center prospect in Linden Vey, when Bud Holloway may be returning, when Carter and Lewis are both capable of playing center, and when there are much less expensive UFA 3C options available as well, is a luxury.

    Scoring goals is not. Having an elite, deep, complete forward group, which includes having two top 6 left wings, so you can compete with Chicago, Boston, and the other top teams in the league who are always improving, is not.

    The Kings need another top 6 left wing. I don’t want to lose Scuderi either, or Stoll, and I’m not even saying losing Regehr would be ideal, but we really don’t have any choice. They are luxuries, they are expendable, they are replaceable for much less $, while a top 6 left which is absolutely required, and not easily added later on if we don’t nab one right now to start free agency.

    I really think it’s just that simple. Plus if Mitchell comes back, having Mitchell, Greene, Scuderi, Regehr, AND Ellerby all on the roster, getting paid like 14 million against the cap all on defensive dmen besides Mitchell, would be a damn disaster. We’re already in a mess with Regehr because I think Dean only re-sign him thinking Mitchell was done for, but now he looks like he’s coming back. Adding Scuderi now on top of that will create even more issues, unless of course you trade Regehr, which I would be happy with. Scuderi is probably still better than Regehr, I think. But adding a top 6 left wing is more important than either of them.

  8. Also Damien Brunner was the most underrated acquisition last offseason, and a huge reason the Red Wings lost Nick Lidstrom and ended up getting better, not worse (also Tatar’s emergence and many other factors, but Brunner was huge for them). And he might still be underrated coming from europe, so he could be a really cheap get compared to the other top free agents. So that’s a really good idea Surly. 3M a year for that guy would fill out of the roster very nicely if they can’t fit in someone more expensive. And I think he’s just going to get better since last year was his first in the NHL. But he has a really good skill set and a nice shot. We missed on Matt Read, Brunner could be sort of similar just better in my opinion.

    • I’m high on Brunner and my Detroit fan friends fawn over him, but it’s one season, so I’m still skeptical and as such, not really willing to pay him 3MM. 2, sure. 2.5 maybe. Unless Lombardi and co have scouted him extensively and would want to sign him long term to replace a Williams, I’m not giving him 3.

      • Other than LA… the wings have been my east coast team, regardless of them being in the west for so long…with that..i definitely would NOT be crying if we got brunner. The guy is HUNGRY to win, especially with last seasons run…my thought with him was that should he stay with detroit…the hunger would infest the “im going to bust my ass to win” attitude in not just him, but the others on the team. Detroit to me is kinda what LA was some years back except with a little more “talent”. Hopefully, we can get some of that talent, ie, brunner, to LA. C’mon Deano, work your magic.

  9. I like every player you’ve targeted, from Ryder through Brunner, but the only problem is, they’re all Right Wingers. I actually thought Ryder played left but I was incorrect. Not sure this helps our cause without putting people in unnatural positions. You know how tricky that can be.

    • That’s true. I’m not a huge believer in wingers being locked into one side or the other. I think a lot of it has to do with the center too, his handedness and creative ability/style of play. I thought Brunner played left too, but I’m also not going to trust anything NHL.com has to say about forward positions.

      While we would like a LW ideally, there aren’t a ton out there, and I’ll take a better RW and force someone to switch left before I’ll settle for a lesser natural LW.

  10. I think a lot of Kings fans are lying to themselves. The only way that we can afford to spend more than $3M on a free agent is if Willie Mitchell doesn’t come back, or we trade someone. (Any contract you could argue amnestying we could get an asset for in a trade) Scuds on a two year is not a bad move, even with his career arc on the down slope. But, realistically if he was willing to take that contract (or close to it) we would have signed him instead of Regehr months ago.
    But who could we trade without creating a whole new need? Not a top 6 forward, and other than Stoll (who just had a seizure and is now “damaged goods” not that it ever made sense to trade him but I digress) nobody in the bottom 6 has a cap hit that would make sense to move. Obviously, not Quick or Scrivens, again skill and cap hit respectively. So defense: DD & VV are not going anywhere (thank god!); Greene showed how important he is with his absence last year (unless you want to argue that it was Mitchell’s absence more than Greene, as we did improve as a team once Regehr showed up and we could pair L/R Defense/Offense on our top two lines, in which case there is an argument to be made), his locker-room presence and on-ice hits are quite valuable but perhaps replaceable. Ellerby just resigned, and Regher did too. No matter what some people think, there is a reason that players don’t get traded only a couple months after a contract extension, it is bad business; it is the perfect way to create distrust between your management and the NHLPA. Unless you are the Miami Marlins, no team is inept enough to do such a thing. I realize not everyone is happy with the Regehr deal, but with Scuds impending free agency and Willie’s knee; DL didn’t want to go 0for3. He went to Scuderi first, but couldn’t work out a deal so instead he signed Regehr. I understand the preference of a healthy Mitchell or a Scuds, but these were not realistic options and since things don’t occur in a vacuum resigning Regehr was the right move. So for those who are arrogant/ignorant/stupid enough to think Regehr is getting moved so the Kings can sign someone else this offseason: STOP IT. So this leaves Muzzin/Martinez who do not have enough of a cap hit to matter. So unless Dean moves Greene, or writes off Mitchell, there is only $3M to spend.
    SO who could be had for $3M: Iginla? Horton? Clarkson? Brunner? Jagr? Considering Briere just got $4M for the next two, I doubt it. Iginla won’t take that big a pay cut, neither will Horton or Clarkson (both are looking to cash-in and will), Brunner wants a long-term deal, Jagr is a LH shot and goal scorer who might make sense. However, I don’t think of Jagr as fitting our style of game, but would not be adverse to it. Other than maybe Jagr (BIG MAYBE, he would take a 33% paycut on last year, and he has talked about wanting to play in Canada) we need to be more realistic: Clowe? Morrow? Raymond? Penner? Clowe is probably looking more $4M, Morrow just finished a contract where he made $4M but he signed that 4 years ago and is now 4 years older, Raymond has disappointed hi whole career and is a former CaSuck (major minus there), Penner is Penner.
    So Scuds is all but gone, again wouldn’t hate $6M over 2, but I think the Islanders give him more over 3. And with that cap space we can realistically look at Morrow, Penner, or someone else taking less money to chase a Cup. But let’s not act like we don’t expect Toffoli to make the switch to LW and be the catalyst for Richards and Carter; while Kopitar bounces back, and Brown scores 25 goals. Then long-term Toffoli takes over for Williams and Tanner slides next to Richards and Carter. So could we use more offense? Yeah! But we did finish 10th in GPG last year, and Toffoli is expected to make us even better this year. We need our big guys to play at their normal level in the playoffs, and not lose key players to cheap-shot bullshit. So while more offense would be nice, we don’t NEED IT, nor can we realistically ascertain much of an upgrade that isn’t already waiting to play 72 more regular season games than last year.

  11. That is the one position never developed by DL: stay at home D-man. I’m ok with Campbell getting a shot. I’d prefer Scuds coming back. But….it’s a cap world now. If Campbell plays all year, by the end of the year, he will no longer be a rookie. It can work.

  12. Scuds to Pitts… fuck em’

    • $13.5m over 4 years, I would have been upset going 3 years. Good luck to you Scuds, hope to beat you in the Cup Final for the next 4 years (actually I hope to bet Carolina so I can go, but still)

    • I’m not mad a Scuderi. He served his time here like a warrior and did what he was suppose to do. He played 4 years of solid D. I think he brought more than is given credit, but 4 more years would have been a stretch. I’m glad he’s going back home to Pittsburgh and I wish him nothing but the best. This is one of the few times where I believe family is the true reason for moving on and I have nothing but respect for him in that regard. Matter of fact, I have nothing but respect for him as a man and professional athlete. He’s pure class! Good luck, sir!

  13. Wow, just getting caught up with all the action. People are moving everywhere. It’s crazy.

    • Shit! I’m a fan of Richardson, but he just signed with Vancouver! How am I suppose to root for you, son? This is the part I don’t particularly care for.

      • Richardson signed for 1.15M for 2 years. I’m guessing he didn’t want to be a healthy scratch half the time. Not sure about this Schultz signing. I watched the Caps some last year and just can’t remember anything about him. What a crazy off-season!

  14. Schultz is BIG but he sucks. What the fuck? We got nine fucking dmen? After the kings signed him I checked on the capitals blog and they are thrilled to get rid of him. They call him the human pylon. Good luck scuds! Thanks for being a great professional. 4 year deal? No way is he worth that but I don’t blame him for taking it. Mitchell better be healthy or we got a problem…

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